MenEngage Africa (MEA) partners in East Africa and faith-based community organisations are starting to meet today (18 April 2016) for a two-day workshop on addressing sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings on the African continent.
In conflict countries, women are the worst affected. They bear the brunt of it because when war comes, they often become targets of sexual violence, their husbands and children may be killed – leaving them without support, and they are themselves the majority of casualties of war. Women make up 80% of those who have to flee their homes.
The objectives of the meeting are to do the following:
The meeting, which is held in Kigali, Rwanda, takes place at a crucial time in the country, as it’s currently marking 100 days of commemoration of the genocide 22 years ago that killed an estimated one million Tutsis. The scars of the 1994 genocide still run deep.
At the same time, in neighbouring Burundi, the political violence that has claimed over 400 civilians’ lives and driven about 200 000 people out of the country to seek refuge in Rwanda and other neighbouring countries in the East African region remains unresolved. The political crisis follows the decision by President Pierre Nkurunziza to forcefully take a third term in office, in spite of vehement opposition to his move. Women, in particular, are at the receiving end of this violence, with the United Nations reporting in January that it had documented cases of sexual violence with a pattern of security forces allegedly entering the victims’ houses, separating the women and raping or gang-raping them.
View a gallery of photographs from the event here.
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